01/10/2014 1:32PM

Fair Hill: Sick horse may have equine herpesvirus


A horse based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland has been placed into isolation and is being monitored for a suspected case of EHV-1, or equine herpesvirus, the training center staff confirmed.

The barn that the horse is housed in has also been placed in isolation. The horses in that barn, who are stabled away from the horse in question, are not permitted to train until after regular training hours have been completed.

As of Friday, only the Maryland Jockey Club, currently running at Laurel, is not allowing horses to ship in and run from Fair Hill. The New York Racing Association, which is running at Aqueduct, is allowing horses to ship in from Fair Hill as Ilikecandy did on Friday.

“With the exception of Maryland, other jurisdictions are satisfied with how we’re handling things,” said Dr. Kathleen Anderson, a veterinarian at Fair Hill.

The horse in question has been isolated in a barn separate from the rest of the exposed barn, which has also been isolated from the remainder of the Fair Hill barns, according to Sally Goswell, the manager of Fair Hill.

Goswell explained that the isolated horse, who exhibited an elevated temperature prior to a colic episode and subsequent moderate neurologic signs, tested negative on serology for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). Blood samples and nasal swab samples on the isolated horse were sent to both the Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The blood samples were negative, but a nasal swab sample demonstrated a weak positive with no evidence of neuropathogenic strain mutation.

According to Goswell and Anderson, the horse will remain in isolation until such time as it tests negative on the nasal swab. As a precaution, the remainder of those in the exposed barn will complete a 21-day isolation period and will be monitored closely for clinical signs of of the virus. That period ends on Jan. 23.

Temperatures are being monitored carefully and the problem horse as well as horses in the exposed barn have not exhibited elevated temperatures nor any other change in related clinical signs.

“We believe that swift action on the part of the horsemen and treating veterinarians will yield a satisfactory outcome that will allow horses to continue to do business as usual on the remainder of the facility,” Goswell said.